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10-27-2011, 08:46 PM #1
Apple Makes ALAC Codec Open Source
Ripping music to iTunes for many elicits a sense of nostalgia. A throwback to a time where physical CD's dominated our music collections and endless hours were devoted to uploading the contents of these discs to our computers. For the true audiophiles out there lossless audio is still the only way to go, and for many using iTunes the codec of choice for encoding songs was/is ALAC otherwise known as Apple Lossless. Well, the codec is now open source.
With ALAC being an open-source codec, download services and music providers are free to supply music encoded in the file format. Current lossless file formats like FLAC aren't supported by most of Apple's iDevices limiting their usefulness, and ALAC's ability to compress lossless music files 40-60 percent without losing quality of fidelity helps conserve space. The codec sources are now available under the Apache license and according to Mac OS Forge they've included a command line utility capable of reading and writing data from Core Audio Format and Wave Files.
However, for those of you invested heavily into iTunes with lossless audio collections, this is potentially a moderately big deal. For most everyone else this announcement wont mean a thing. Most people will be content with their 192kbps AAC and MP3's. Audiophiles will always be around and the vinyl renaissance of the last few years is proof. However, it is nice to know someone at Apple finally decided to support a small, but dedicated group of music listeners.
Or Apple could have made the obvious move and supported FLAC years ago considering it is widely used by indie artists and the larger labels to provide lossless music to listeners.
Source: Mac OS Forge [via TUAW]
10-28-2011, 12:02 AM #2
Le sigh....finally. now I can rip all my Mike Patton albums and not have to manually enter all the info. Bout flippin time AAPL!!!!!!
10-28-2011, 06:14 AM #3
dBpoweramp already has the full (encode and decode) ALAC codec, because it's not a free program. LibAV also has an ALAC decoder (they don't pay a royalty, though). I guess all this means is that companies won't have to pay Apple money to use the codec, so it will appear more in freeware stuff now. Apple needs to add official FLAC support.